Some of your questions answered
How are missing teeth replaced?
This depends on the number of teeth missing and on where they are in the mouth. The condition of the other teeth also affects the decision. There are three main ways to replace the missing teeth. The first is with a removable false tooth or teeth – a partial denture. The second is with a fixed bridge. A bridge is usually used where there are fewer teeth to replace, or when the missing teeth are only on one side of the mouth, and the third is to have a dental implant – which we are now able to offer – click here for more information.
What is a partial denture?
This is a plate with a number of false teeth on it. It may be all plastic or a mixture of metal and plastic. Both types may have clips (clasps), to help keep the denture in place in the mouth. Depending on where they are, some of these clips may show when you smile or open your mouth.
What are the replacement teeth made of?
Usually plastic, and occasionally porcelain. Each replacement tooth is made specially, to get the right shape, colour and size for you.
What is the difference between a plastic partial denture and one that contains metal?
Plastic partial dentures are less expensive to make. But unless they are designed very carefully they can damage the teeth they fit against. Metal partial dentures are usually from an alloy of cobalt and chromium and they are much stronger. They are lighter to wear and can be supported by the remaining teeth. Although the base is metal, they have gum-coloured plastic and natural-looking teeth fixed to them. They are more expensive than the plastic ones.
How do I look after my denture?
You should remove the denture from your mouth for cleaning. You’ll be shown how to clean it by your dentist or hygienist, probably with a small toothbrush and toothpaste, or by soaking it in cleansing solution. If you have a metal-based denture you’ll need to choose a cleaning solution that’s suitable for metal.
What is the alternative to a partial denture?
The main alternative is a fixed bridge. This is made by putting crowns on the teeth at either side of the space, and then joining these two crowns together by placing a false tooth in the space. This is all made in the laboratory and then the pieces are cemented into place with special adhesives. The bridge can’t be removed
What are bridges made of?
Bridges usually made of a precious metal. If the bridge will show, porcelain is then bonded to the base. Sometimes, there are other non-precious metals used in the base for strength.
Are bridges expensive?
Although a bridge may seem expensive it will last many years. It will also improve your appearance and bite. A bridge uses the considerable skill of the dentist and technician, and in this way, it’s similar to ordering a piece of hand-made jewellery. The materials are also expensive so it’s fair to say a bridge will not be the cheapest treatment you have ever had.
How do I look after my bridge?
You need to clean your bridge every day, to prevent problems such as bad breath and gum disease. You also have to clean under the false tooth every day. Your dentist or hygienist will show you how to use a bridge needle or special floss, as a normal toothbrush cannot reach.